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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

New Low in Sky Virgin Media battle

I confess that I flicked through the Virgin Media 10-Q yesterday and it crossed my mind that I could write something cruel about the lack of profits. However, this was also balanced by what I felt was reasonable brand charges from the Virgin Group. I decided the bigger story was a comparison of the Q1 results and how the battle was affecting actual market performance and shareholder returns.

The Times instead has decided to go personal with an article entitled – “Virgin Media awards seven executives £25m after losing £510m” - I presume that this story couldn't be planted with the Telegraph.

It gets more petty and far more personal from that lowpoint:
  • “…Board members of the British cable company also held a special meeting in the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico… to which spouses and partners of directors were invited and their costs of travel met by the firm.”
  • “followed by Cob Stenham, who died in October and received $10.7 million in pay and awards in 2006…Stenham’s family were given extra time to exercise stock options, while an executor to his estate was appointed.”
  • “Steve Burch, who spent 17 years at US cable operator Comcast before joining Virgin Media in January last year. His pay package includes $175,000 for legal costs relating to litigation with his former employer.”
This battle is very, very nasty and several people will regret what they have said for many, many years. I advise extreme caution for anyone caught up in the crossfire...